As is the case for each and every incremental Mac OS X update, scores of users are reporting intermittent freezes and problems starting up after applying the Mac OS X 10.6.3 update. The causes of these issues are varied and numerous, ranging from incompatible external devices and kernel extensions to disks in need of repair.
We will cover the precise causes with more nuance in subsequent reports, but there is one routine that will solve these freezing and startup issues for the vast majority of users; it’s only two steps and usually requires less than an hour of time (largely dependent upon your Internet connection speed). Here it is:
- Reinstall Snow Leopard from disc. Insert your Snow Leopard installation disc, then restart while holding down the C key. When prompted, choose the normal “Install” option. Make sure to select “Preserve Users and Network Settings.” After installation, you’ll be left with an earlier iteration of Mac OS X 10.6.x (current retail discs include Mac OS X 10.6.2), but an otherwise largely intact system. You may need to restore some saved username/password information, browser information, etc.
- Download and install the Mac OS X 10.6.3 combo updater. Download the Mac OS X 10.6.3 combo updater, which weighs in at a hefty 784MB but is a troubleshooting godsend. Quit all open applications and run the installer.
That’s it. This process is extremely simple, but remarkably effective. It will eliminate a host of files susceptible to corruption or other issues and hopefully allow you to use Mac OS X 10.6.3, with all of its security and feature refinements, without persistent freezes or startup issues.
To downgrade to Mac OS X 10.6.2. If you’re still experiencing show-stopper issues after applying this process, simply stop after step 1. This will leave with an earlier, less secure version of Mac OS X 10.6.x, but should alleviate any Mac OS X 10.6.3-induced problems.